Monday, August 2, 2010

No Fear?

Everyone has seen those episodes of Maury Povich (or at least if you are being honest about your trashy television watching habits) where people discuss their irrational fears. Guests can be petrified of snakes or pickles or bubble wrap and Maury, being the ass that he is, will thrust them headfirst into facing their fear. Usually he does this by making aforementioned fear somehow chase them or suficate them. Example: If you are scared of cotton balls, Maury will dress a man up in a suit covered in the fluffy nonthreatening material and have him chase after you and try to hug you, much like Chuck E. Cheese might after a child's birthday party(see below).

As ridiculous as the woman above is behaving, I must admit that I understand her predicament. Everyone has them: irrational fears. In fact "What is your irrational fear?" is one of my favorite getting to know you/first date kinda questions. The results are so much more interesting than the "What's your favorite color?" or "What's your sign?" kinda generica. For clarification, an irrational fear cannot be something which is common and or somehow overtly dangerous like heights or car accidents. My findings to this one question are like windows into the crazy psyches of those I love.

My irrational fears are plentiful and haphazard. While coming across the film The Final Destination the other night on cable, I was reminded of some that I've had over the years, but have become dormant as I've gotten older. Many of them stemmed from urban legends or watching episodes of 20/20 at a young age. [Tangent: Consumer reports and shows like 20/20 and Dateline are single-handedly creating an epidemic of irrational fears. For example, My sister is petrified that she will one day become possessed by a demon. We were not raised in an uber religious family, aside from the natural Catholic fear of the devil inhabiting your body. At some point in my youth, I am positive we watched an episode of 20/20 where they showed a live exorcism. We were much to wee to understand sensationalism in journalism so thus an irrational fear was born.] In the above mentioned film, people are killed in seemingly safe and everyday situations- a movie theater catching fire, getting eviscerated via pool drain and my personal favorite drowning in a car wash. For someone like me who always maps out what could possibly go awry in any given scenario, these movies make me feel like I have reason to worry, and thus make me feel sane.

When I was little everything was possibly threatening and resulted in an outpouring of tears: Teddy Ruxpin, ET [Tangent: I was scared of that adorable alient until 3rd grade.], Harry and the Hendersons, Chuck E. Cheese/Showbiz Pizza characters (especially that damned drum playing gorilla) and even our house cat, Spike.

But with age, my yellow belly faded to a sunny beige. Today, if I had to narrow it down, my two biggest sources of mortification are birds that can conversate (parrots, cockatiels et al.) and the holocaust. Try to erase those puzzled looks off you faces because I think I have a good argument for both.

Birds: For clarification, I don't generally like any type of bird. [Tangent: There is the exception of flamingos and hummingbirds, which both seem fairly non-threatening and thus tolerable. Maybe because one is the color of Pepto Bismal and the other drinks glorified Crystal Light all day. How bad can they be? ]Whether it be the times at the beach when my family would throw bread in the air and have seagulls swarm or the time when a chicken flew from a slack-jawed yokel's shoulder to roost in my hair after a hayride, birds seemed to have an anti-Kimmie agenda. Their eerie quality increases tenfold when they gain the power of speech. It just seems to go against nature, like a monkey roller skating or a squirrel wind surfing.

I recall once as a child being in the pet section of WalMart, my sister Kelly and I were checking out the goldfish when all of a sudden our conversation was being mimicked in a creepy witchy voice by someone/something behind us. As we whipped around, we found the source, a big gnarly looking macaw. Ever since then, I have held the opinion that birds that can conversate were on par with clowns as far as creepiness is concerned.

The Holocaust: Ok. I am not Jewish and was not alive during Nazi wartime, but The Holocaust is still a source of uneasiness for me. When I was younger, I happened to be in the room when my family was watching some movie about the Holocaust. The film showed Jews being hustled out of a restaurant and into the gas chamber. I was too young to understand that it was because of their beliefs and the stringency of the Nazi regime that they were being euthanized. My naive assumption was wrong place/wrong time, and from then on, I became scared that any time my parents went out for a date night, they may not be coming home.

As I grew up and learned more about it, I realized I had Polish family members over there around that time. Also, I knew that both Catholics and the disabled were among the groups also not part of "The Master Race." If I had been around, I was shit outta luck and destined to be gassed. My lung power is terrible, I would have quickly perished. See, I have my reasons.

These weird phobias were something I kept within until recently, and now I revel in hearing about the unorthodox fears of my friends and family. The following is an annotated list of some I of the best answers to my query that have been given. Their identities have been concealed to protect the innocent.

  • Werewolves (this from a 28 year old man)
  • Being raped by an Asian man
  • Being cast in a movie that is cursed
  • Ferris wheels
  • Porcelain dolls
  • Claymation Christmas Specials
  • Camel spiders despite being nowhere near a desert
  • Watching loved ones go down slides
See ya on Maury...


  1. Mine: Once my family was watching 'What About Bob?' on tv, and while we were watching it, the phone rang. It was a police officer telling my mom that my big brother had been in an accident he was ok).
    To this day, my mom won't watch that movie, thinking the two events were somehow linked by the nefarious mind of Bill Murray.

  2. I'm terrified of clowns... I'm not sure if that counts.
    Maury is so mean. I have to wonder what in the world he and Connie Chung discuss around the dinner table. It's like Condoleezza Rice being married to Joe Dirt. I don't get it.

  3. I think the answers that other people gave you are far more common that you think. I to have a fear of being raped by an Asian man and claymation camel toes.
    Wait,..did i miss read something?

  4. In no particular order:
    1. Birds.
    2. Ferris wheels.
    3. Clowns.
    4. Slides.
    5. Porcelain dolls and statues with very defined facial features.

  5. wow. im not the only one that 20/20 and dateline has traumatized! I am terrified of hotel room blankets and toothbrushes left in the bathroom. (according to the shows, fecal matter was found on the toothbrushes and the blanket thing is kind of self-explanatory)......


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